Here's a peek into five of our travel realities that you might not know... (In fact, you might not even want to know a few of them!)
#1. Our "accommodations" bar drops daily. At some point we did have standards - large, spotless, airy rooms with fast wifi, ample shelves/hooks, free coffee or at least free hot water for instant coffee, bathroom sinks with functional plumbing, nice staff...
setting the bar in Hue
But now, if it's 300b (~$10) or less and looks to be in decent condition, we're sold. The other night we were shown a possible room and I watched a gecko scurry under the bed. My only thought was "oh cool! it's not a cockroach!" We took the room.
teeny tiny roommates in Mae Sariang
We hardly ever book in advance anymore and once we park we don't want to move, no matter how dodgy things get. Recently we've endured hot rooms, loud construction, loud neighbors, drunk neighbors, creepy neighbors, cranky staff, armies of ants, dozens of mossies and a handful of those apocalypse survivors.
We won't tolerate bed bugs, dirty sheets or smelly rooms but otherwise, it has to be pretty bad for us to muster the energy to switch guesthouses once we put our backpacks down.
#2. We can't remember the last time we wore deodorant and we can count on two hands the number of times we've worn it since Warsaw back in September. It wasn't necessary then because the weather was cool and then cold and then really cold, and it's completely useless now because we just sweat through it five minutes after we put it on.
huddling for warmth in Uzumlu
needing as much space as possible
for air circulation in Sukhothai
That might sound gross to you. Actually, wearing the stuff sounds gross to us now so we're even. Plus, not wearing deodorant definitely makes it easier to hand-wash shirts... which we do on a regular basis (you're welcome, Thailand).
#3. We are officially, completely over the whole noodles-for-breakfast thing. It took about 100 days in SE Asia but it finally happened.
Ho Chi Minh,
where it was novel
where we decided we were done
An "American" breakfast of eggs, toast, coffee, juice and bacon/sausage runs $4-5 which is exorbitant by SE Asia food prices... but we still splurge now and then just to avoid noodles.
Mae Hong Son,
where we were proud to be 'Murican
The real dirty little secret is that 7-11 has become our BFF here in Thailand, as sad as that might sound, and whenever possible we have 7-11 yogurt, fruit from a local stand, and (on a good day) corn flakes or muesli for breakfast. On a not-so-good day we try to find anything interesting at 7-11 to put into the yogurt. Pumpkin seeds are the latest win.
empty yogurt containers double as
beer steins and coffee cups (fyi)
But sometimes we still eat noodles. Sigh.
#4. Patrick went 450 days without a haircut. Because why not? But his long curls "didn't do what he wanted" (his words) so today he shaved them off.
He just might go another 450 days without a haircut. Because why not?
And this is our big dirty little secret... #5. We aren't exactly done with this trip but we're looking forward to the end. We have reached the point where we just want things to be easy, and if it means staying another day in a strange little tourist town so that we can figure out the easiest way to go south and park on an island for a week or more, so be it. If it means six hours on one bus instead of three short bus rides, so be it. If it means eating a mediocre monthiversary lunch at a crappy farang restaurant, so be it.
at least the Thai curry sausage was delicious...
to 33 fifteenths!
As the final leg of our trip comes together we also talk more about our next life back in the States. Among the many things we have learned over the past 450 days, we've learned a lot about how we want to live going forward and I think we're eager to put that plan into motion.
But we don't want to short-change Cambodia, Nepal, and what we hope will be a truly awesome whirlwind farm tour down under. It can be difficult to stay present and enjoy the moment when there is so much to look forward to - and ponder, and worry about - but we're trying.
presence at Erawan National Park
Some people do this travel thing for years. We can definitely see why and how. Ourselves, we don't want to do this for years. We had hoped to be gone a year and we were kind of amazed when a year came and went back in April.
It's looking like one year will become two years. That will be pretty amazing as well.
And then our real journey begins...